If you're looking for handmade gifts to bring back for yourself or for your friends, you'll want to go in to Savusavu town on Saturday. In addition to all the craft shops being open, this is the day that the local farmers are there with the fresh catches, fruits and veggies and more.
The handcrafts shop that is inside the farmers market is the best place we found in all of Savusavu town to get real authentic handmade items. They have items such as dolls, ornaments, paintings, sculptures and more and you can talk to the local artist about it on site. They have prices listed on them, but if you are buying more than one thing, it's easy to negotiate.
Most shops in town do not take credit cards so make sure you bring cash. They prefer Fijian dollars, but do take US dollars as well. If you don't have cash on you, there is a local bank just across the street and you can withdraw money from there.
What to buy: We bought masks, dolls, ornaments from here all made from parts of Fijian nature.
What to pay: Shopping seems fairly inexpensive. We bought beautiful angel ornaments for about $10 USD a piece, dolls for about $15, masks for about $20 and kitchenware that we're using as display pieces from about $20 and up.
Clothing - There are several excellent shops in Nadi town that regularly have specials.
Souvenirs - Goto Jacks. Its the biggest, cheapest and best. You can't go wrong.
Resorts - Some of the larger resorts like on Denarau have some cheap clothing but in general are more expensive than Nadi.
What to buy: Souviners are always great to buy and are always nice to have a momento of your trip. I always bought new shorts and singlets there too as there are tonnes to choose from and are really cheap. You can also buy fakes like Diesel, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and other brand names. Diesel jeans only cost me $20.
What to pay: I spent about $200 and came out with over 20 new items of clothing! Great value for money.
We didn't do much shopping in Fiji...wasn't exactly high on our list of priorities what with weddings and dive courses and such...but we did stop here to pick up some souveneirs for the kids. Jacks is a one stop souveneir shop! Everything you can think of can be found right in this one spot.
We loved the section called 'Little India', which specialises in sari's. I couldn't resist the one pictured, and so it came home with me. The sari's start at about $10 and go up depending on the detail.
You are greeted outside of the shop by a local Fijian, while talking the Indian owner comes out and entices you in saying have a look but you don't have to buy. He then puts pearls around your neck, knocking the price down and down, until finally you think you are buying a South Sea black pearl for the cheapest imaginable price. You don't get a chance to handle the pearls as they seem to always be on your neck or in his hand. These pearls are basically seconds, very poor quality and the cheap price is still too dear for the quality of the pearls. The owner will show you photos in catalogues of South Sea Pearls at huge prices, he will tell you of previous happy customers, he will show you proof of how good he is, what he does in the local community, offer guarantees of quality etc etc. Do not be fooled, before buying, have a good look at the pearls, look for colour, blemishes, size etc, then barter the price down to as low as you want for the pearl, ignore what the owner says.
Local crafts are probably the only worthwhile thing to buy in Fiji. You can get some nice wooden souvenirs. Make sure you bargain because they will definitely try to rip you off. The best place to buy crafts is in the markets. Some shops also sell them (eg. Jack's Handicrafts) however they are always more expensive.
When in Fiji, there are alot of woodern souvourners that you may want to take home with you. Purchasing these items from markets is dangerous as the wood may not be treated.
When buying bongo drums, make sure the skin is not transparent.
Ensure there are no holes in the wood.
Ask for a receipt that states 'treated wood' on it.
Also - when walking in the main streets, the locals may try to tempt you into a shop - be careful as i was almost forced into a shop - which was a terrible experience.
They made the Kava - but added an unknown liquid into it -
i was then asked to pay $30 - when i didnt even try it - the 30 was for the 'experience'.
What to buy: Food is expensive in Fiji - especially chocolate and meat. They will ask you to throw out all milk products at the air port - so dont bother packing it. A small block of chocolate will cost you $9 Fijian.
What to buy:
This is definately the place to get some of the best sarongs in the world - or sulus, as they are known in Fiji. Or just to take a walk around some of the local markets, they really have a great atmosphere.
What to pay: Bargain away!
I had great fun haggling with the guy running the little stall on the beach where I bought this drum! We had a real good laugh, and he carved mine and my partners names onto the drum as part of the price - ahhhh.....
There were also local people selling locally made crafts around some areas of the hotel grounds. They were pleasant and friendly and not at all pushy, just quite happy for you to browse.
What to buy: Popular items include jewellery, bags made from flax, and wooden carvings such as masks and bowls.
What to pay: My drum cost me about £8 (GBP)
The "FREE" shop is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative to support aspiring local artists and craftspeople. All pices at the shop are screened to ensure originality and have more of a contemporary look to them compared to what you will find at the handicraft market in town.
This is definately a "must stop" shop in Suva.
What to buy: There is really wide variety of gifts including:
* Lamps/Lamp Shades
* Sulus (wrap-arounds);
* Woven handbags
* Fiji Style Pillows/Cushion Covers
* Contemporary Fiji Jewellery
* Shirts, Dresses and Kids Wear.
What to pay: Prices start as low as $1 for a pair of earings, while some of the larger three-panel paintings will cost approxiamately Fiji$800 (US$400).
I found out that if you are interested in buying a Sulu, otherwise known as a sarong, you need to buy it in the capital of Fiji- Suva.
There is where all the textile shops are.
There is also a Flea Market where i brought a beautiful silk one for only FD$8.00
I didn't realize what a great price it was, until I got to Nadi, where the same SULU was around FD$30.00
As you can imagine, I could of done a great business and got money for my trip. :-0
This is the local market in the centre of Lautoka. If you're looking for a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, this is the place to go. Unfortunately this trip we didn't purchase anything, but the prices are good. Just don't expect the perfectly formed fruit that we seem to get a home.
What to buy: Fruit, vegetables, spices and kava.
Places like Jack's are very touristy t-shirt/gifts/handicraft shops. They're nice and clean and air-conditioned, but the bargaining is at a minimum there and the prices are marked up. Of course, I learned that you CAN talk them down if you want to, they'll usually go down a couple of bucks on things, but if you really like to haggle, head to the local handicraft shops.
I enjoyed wandering around the Suva Handicraft Center even though I was warned not to give anyone my name as they would carve it on a boat or something and try to get me to buy it. I was overwhelmed with the guys working some of the booths introducing themselves and offering to give me a tour of the town. Friendly people.
Also, my restaurant tip is located in this center as well...
What to pay: As little as you can haggle down to.
Suva and Lautoka markets are great for buying fresh fruit and veges. You can often barter with the locals and get more for you dollar.
Aside from the cheap prices you will also see a bit of Fijian culture, markets are great to look around and get supplies for a trip out to one of the island resorts.
If you get the opportunity to try Kava in a market area or anywhere in Fiji i would suggest you try it. It takes and looks like muddy water but is very alcoholic and makes your teeth go numb.
What a wonderful place to go on holidays with young children. The staff are so happy and love...more
Toberua Island Tailevu, P.O. Box 3332, Toberua Island, Fiji
Good for: Business
P.O. Box 244, Savusavu, Fiji
Good for: Solo
More Regions in Fiji